Why Net-a-Porter's partnership with fashion brands is a win-win

Fashion houses make deals with the e-commerce giant because they hope to gain from its global reach

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 08 August, 2015, 7:23am
UPDATED : Saturday, 08 August, 2015, 7:23am

As retail moves increasingly online and luxury brands veer away from "mass luxe" towards limited, rare products, it's no surprise that we're seeing online giant Net-a-Porter launching a slew of exclusive partnerships with brands both big and small. As competition in the sector heats up, this is one way for the largest and most famous online fashion store to stay ahead of the game.

Of the smaller labels, this year Net-a-Porter has nabbed Vanessa Seward's newly launched eponymous line, a Delpozo capsule range and Totême, among others.

And then there are the major players. Dolce & Gabbana's Portofino capsule collection was created to celebrate the location of its latest couture shows and sold very selectively; Chanel's Coco Crush jewellery line was the French brand's first official foray into e-commerce and it promptly sold out; Tom Ford also signed on for an exclusive partnership.

Up next is Italian brand Tod's. It announced an exclusive partnership with Net-a-Porter for its beautifully made women's ready-to-wear line, which was released late last month. It marked the first time Tod's had an online retail partner. Tod's line was launched several seasons ago after the brand appointed the talented Alessandra Facchinetti to helm its women's range. Critically acclaimed runway shows and plenty of play in fashion mags meant the women's ready-to-wear pieces were notoriously hard to get a hold of. It proved to be a powerful tool of imagery for the brand's feminine market, even if the line was unavailable at most Tod's stores.

And so this partnership taps into what that line's potential, starting off with an edit of 10 select styles (more will be released later). It should also be an effective testing ground for how well these styles sell internationally, and which areas to grow or scale back - a useful tool for future strategies. Menswear is not to be left to the sidelines either. Mr Porter is Net-a-Porter's male counterpart, with a stellar reputation among fashion's most particular, and it has its own growing list of online exclusive deals. Tod's men's ready-to-wear line is launching on the platform next month. Brands such as Brunello Cucinelli, Edward Green, Viberg and Thorogood are also joining the fray - all hoping that the massive reach of this e-commerce giant will help spread their message and increase their global reach.